Today seemed the perfect occasion to write about a wonderful English winery called Chapel Down. I first tasted these wines years ago at a Vinexpo event.
Tomorrow is the Coronation of His Majesty, King Charles and her majesty, the Queen Consort. What a long strange trip this has been. I remember getting up in the middle of the night to watch then Prince Charles marry Lady Diana Spencer, the watching her funeral, the Queen Mother’s passing, Prince Philip and then Queen Elizabeth. One may think I am an avid lover of British Royalty but it’s actually the pomp and circumstance of it all that I like. I respected the hard work of the Queen and the Queen Mother, and what his Majesty did for on raising awareness on the environment and climate change. I likely will be up early watching since it starts at 500am EST.
Chapel Down is located in Tenterden, in the Kent countryside. They make sparkling wines using both traditional grapes – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier and the traditional method. The chalky white soils and climate allow for these grapes to thrive in this area. They both own vineyards and buy grapes from other growers from Essex to Hampshire in a quest to make a balanced house style. Their winemaker Josh Donaghay-Spire is looking to make wines that are fresh, vibrant and balanced.
From my notes on the three wines I tasted, a Brut NV, a Rosé and the Three Graces, he succeeded. I loved these wines with classic yeast, toast and brioche aromas as well as white citrus fruit, apple and pear and floral aromas and flavors. The Rosé was 100% Pinot Noir and was elegant and restrained with hints of strawberry and raspberry with great racy acidity. The Three Graces was particularly evolved with more aging and complexity and honeyed fruit and bread aromas. The texture of the wines showed the lees aging regimes they use.
I remember being very impressed with these beauties and continually going back to the stand to try them. The wines are readily available here in the US should you be up for a new sparkler.